Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark

Publication: 1980
Length: 320 pages
My Rating: ****--4 Stars
Amazon Description: When a minor road accident lands county prosecutor Katie DeMaio in hospital, she is forced to stay in overnight. Looking out of the hospital window in her half-conscious state, she thinks she glimpses a man loading a woman's body into the boot of a car. Or is it just a pill-induced nightmare? At work the next day, Katie begins investigating a suicide that looks more like murder. Initial evidence points elsewhere, but medical examiner Richard Carroll spots a trail leading to Dr Edgar Highley. He begins to suspect that the famous doctor's pioneering work 'curing' infertile women might in fact violate every principle of modern medicine. But before he can tell Katie his fears, he learns she has already left the office for an appointment for routine surgery - in Dr Highley's operating room...

My Review: It's no secret. Mary Higgins Clark is one of my favorite mystery and suspense authors. I started reading her books in high school. I love the way she weaves a story and introduces new characters. There always seems to be a romantic angle that isn't the main focus of the story, yet it's there and it does play a part. The mysteries always have me guessing who the bad guy is. I change my mind about who it is more times than I can count and it always seems that I'm wrong, even when I try to guess who it would least likely by. Some of her books put the mystery right out there for the reader, but the characters are trying to figure it out. That is the typical formula in her shorter books (collections). I always love the main characters because even though they've been through so much, they're still amazingly strong and capable.

I've read this particular book three times now. It's usual for me (because I read so much) to forget things in a book over time. I can read one of her mysteries and then 3-4 years later, pick it up again and not remember anything. But this is one that was so strange, fascinating, and just so wrong, that I can't forget it.

Content: her books always contain some swearing, some more than others, but it's not the most offensive kind; there always seem to be murders, but they're not graphic and gruesome; there are typically moments of peril.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog Tour and Book Review!! A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure

bargained tour
a bargainedA Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella) Excerpt “You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment. Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return. Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said. Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part. Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did
  marciaAuthor Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.
Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/12/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marcia Lynn McClure can really write a good, clean romance that draws a reader right in. She can write Westerns, Regency, and Contemporary books and they're fantastic!! One thing that I love about her books, is she always adds a little something to them that connects the book for me. For example, with this one, I'll always connect it with oranges. She has one that I always think of when I see a tootsie pop. Those little details really make it fun. I think the author's notes at the end are the icing on the cake--I love the little snippets into the making of the story or into MLM's personal life. Those experiences really add to the story and bring it to life. Her stories are so vivid in my mind--she is wonderful at descriptions that paint a picture.

Jilly is in love with Jack. I was a little disappointed at first. I hadn't read the book description, because I knew I'd love it, and I didn't want the book to start out with the couple already together. I love to "watch" the couple fall in love and I thought they were already there. If you're the same way, KEEP READING!! I was sure in for a surprise--but that's what I get for assuming. I loved it, just as I knew I would. True to MLM fashion, this book took me on a delightful, romantic journey and was just adorable.

Content: kissing, some swearing. Clean!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: 250 Great Movies for Latter-Day Families by Jonathan Decker

Publication: September 2013   
Length: 259 pages
Source: won in a giveaway
My Rating: *****--5 Stars

Amazon Description:
In the classic words of Danny Kaye, “The theatre, the theatre, what's happened to the theatre?” Many LDS parents are asking themselves the same thing. Finding clean, wholesome films that are well made and interesting is becoming more and more difficult. 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families not only helps guide you to these kinds of movies but also helps you to apply principles of the gospel to them to make your night not only entertaining but edifying as well.

Jonathan Decker, host of the KJZZ Movie Show and certified marriage and family therapist, offers this easy-to-use guide complete with indexes. Each film receives a discussion of artistic value, a general content review, and suggestions for gospel parallels. Decker reviews films that range from Bing Cosby's Going My Way (1944) to the more modern Avengers (2012), giving a wide range of genres. This guide has something for everyone and is an essential tool when planning movie nights, dates, family home evenings, and other gatherings.

My Review: I won this book in a giveaway and was very excited about it. When it came in the mail, I told my kids about it and they all groaned, "So we can only watch Church movies now?" They were in for a big surprise when I opened it up and showed them some of the movies that they love now and how they have such great messages and can tie into the scriptures. I was surprised at some of the movies myself. There are some I've never heard of or seen, but now I have some good ideas of what to watch.

There are movies that a lot of teens love--The Avengers, Captain America,and Thor. There are movies that my family loves--the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings series, the Star Wars series, and Nacho Libre. There are movies my younger children love--Finding Nemo, the Ice Age movies, Rio, and Bolt. There's something for everyone, with movies in a bunch of different categories--comedy, drama, religious, Christmas, musicals, etc.

What I really love about each movie is the author gives it a rating, a content overview, and messages to discuss, with scriptures included. This is a terrific book for anyone looking for wholesome family movies with great messages and I highly recommend it.

To purchase, click here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway--A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by June McCrary Jacobs

'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom' by June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher:  Sweetwater Books Imprint, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media,
ISBN:  978 1-4621-1352-1
Published: October 2013
Length: 144 pages
My Rating: ****--4 Stars
Source: received an e-book in exchange for an honest review
Blurbs from the covers: "A classic holiday story filled with faith,
service, and a dash of romance."
"What's happened?" Amber asked.
"One of your students was critically injured in an accident."
Amber let out a squeak. "Who?" 


My Review:  
This was a simple, sweet Christmas story. Amber is a school teacher and when one of her
students is involved in an accident, the town rallies around to help cheer her up and to help
pay for her medical costs. 
On a side note, when Amber goes to visit Mary Noel, she literally runs into Paul and a 
romance quickly blossoms. This romance becomes one of the main two points to the story. 
This novella is on the shorter side, so we don't  really get to know Amber and Paul really well.
I thought they were both a little awkward, especially when they would text each other, but it
was very endearing and sweet. 
Typically, it's not very believable to me when everything works out so quickly and so neatly, 
however, with this feel-good holiday story, anything is possible and it works. It's the type of 
sweetness and fluff recipe that is filled with kindness and hope--which is a must for a good 
Christmas story; it's the makings of a good Hallmark Christmas movie.

Content: Christian undertones, kissing, CLEAN!!
To buy on Amazon, click here.
I am excited to be able to giveaway ONE e-book to a
lucky reader!! Please enter below:  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: June McCrary Jacobs releases 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom' novel 10/1/13—Springville, Utah—California-based author June McCrary Jacobs has released her debut novel, “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom.” When her student, six-year-old Mary Noel, survives a car accident over Thanksgiving break, Amber and her new friend, Paul, are determined to cheer her up during the holidays. But Mary Noel’s most painful injury is the loss of her dog. The more withdrawn Mary Noel becomes, the more Amber and Paul need a miracle—a miracle that requires the entire community’s help. "I wanted to portray a wholesome relationship between a man and woman with similar values where their friendship and common goals were the basis for developing a love relationship,” said McCrary Jacobs. “The community of Apple Blossom pulls together to help a family in need and is very successful in their efforts.” “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom” is available in bookstores and on,, and ### About the Author: June McCrary Jacobs spent twenty years as a primary grade educator after graduating from California State University, Hayward, with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a multiple-subject teaching credential. Along with writing fiction, June is a freelance designer of sewing, quilting and crafting projects. “A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom” is June's debut novel, though not her first published work. Since 2007 June's original sewing, quilting and stitchery projects and articles have been published in national and international magazines including Stitch, Sew News, Sewing World, Simply Handmade, Sew Hip, Sewing Savvy, Crafts 'n Things and Create & Decorate. Two of her sewing designs for children will appear in the upcoming “101 One-Yard Little Wonders” book published by Storey Publishing. A Californian since age six, June currently resides in the San Joaquin Valley. Learn more about June's writing endeavors and view some of her original sewing projects by visiting her website at
Website & Blog:
Facebook: Author Page:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: Reunions are Murder by Sharon Landis

Publication: October 2013
Length: 206 pages
Source: kindle ebook
My Rating: 3.5 Stars.

Amazon Description:
Brad Michaels is an attorney returning home to attend his high school class reunion. He wants to reconnect with former friends and see what everyone has made of their lives; but most of all he wants to see his high school sweetheart, Sara Waters. Has she changed? Where does she live? And most importantly is she married? All of these questions occupy his mind and make him wonder about the decision he made to leave all of it behind when he left home for college. Everything changes at the reunion when a gunshot rings out in the night.
Suddenly Brad and Police detective Sara Waters find themselves on opposite sides of the situation when Brad is discovered kneeling over the dead body of their classmate, Clifford Hansen, holding the murder weapon. With a reunion full of suspects (not to mention the people who would want Clifford dead because of his previous work dealings), can Brad and Sara finally reconnect? Their path is littered with lost love, a stalker, and revenge.

My Review:
I know this author and the cover illustrator!! How fun is that? I really enjoyed the mystery of the story and the relationships. There was plenty of *clean* romance to go along with the investigations. I loved how the story had flashbacks to high school; those flashbacks really helped me understand the characters and the reasons behind their actions and choices. I found myself getting caught up in the story and trying to figure out who was behind it all and why. I also loved the ending. It wraps things up, but also leaves things open for the next book.

I liked Sara--she was someone to admire in high school and even though she was very driven and detached at times as an adult, she was the kind of person everyone wants to have as a friend.

I had just two issues with the story, and they're probably just my own personal views. There are a lot of punctuation errors and there weren't many contractions. Maybe it's just the way I speak, but I like the dialogue to feel natural it didn't always feel that way, especially when the characters were teenagers.

That aside, I really liked the storyline and the characters were great! The romance was just right for the mystery and I look forward to more by this author.

Content: murder--no details; child neglect/abuse--not graphic; kissing. Clean!!

To buy, click here .

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review: Battle of the Ampere (Michael Vey #3) by Richard Paul Evans

Publication: September 2013
Length: 336 Pages
Source: library
My Rating: ****--4 Stars.

Amazon Description:  
The hair-raising action continues for Michael Vey in this charged third installment of the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
Michael, Taylor, Ostin and the rest of the Electroclan have destroyed the largest of the Elgen Starxource plants, but now they’re on the run. The Elgen have teamed up with the Peruvian army to capture them, and only Michael remains free. With his friends due to stand trial for terrorism—a charge that may carry the death penalty—Michael will need all his wits and his abilities if he’s to save them.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Dr. Hatch and his loyal Electric Children have seized control of the E.S. Ampere—the super yacht the Elgen use as their headquarters. With the seven ships of the Elgen fleet now under his control, Hatch heads back to Peru to gather his army and begin his quest for global domination.

Michael must free his friends then find a way to stop Hatch, but Hatch knows Michael and the Electroclan are coming. And he’s ready for them. Can the Electroclan win the battle of the Ampere? Or has Michael’s luck finally run out?

My Review:
If you're looking for a clean, fast-paced story about some teens with super powers (involving electricity), then this is the series for you. Book 3 picked up right where Book 2 left off. This is not a stand-alone, in my opinion. To fully understand the situation Michael Vey and his friends find themselves in and the battle they face, you need to read the first two books first.

While I enjoyed this one, it wasn't my favorite of the three so far. I know there will be another one because of the teaser ending, but I'm not sure how many will be in the series.

I love the fact that these books have so much fantasy and action, yet they aren't graphic--they are good, wholesome fun. That's a big plus for me, as a parent. I know my kids would read them and I wouldn't have to worry about content.

What I like the most about Michael Vey is that he is not perfect. He's not the typical popular jock who has everything going for him. He uses his brains to get in and out of situations and he is a friend to all. He suffers from Tourette's and doesn't seem to make friends really easily--until now.

I love all the powers that these characters have and how they compliment each others talents.

Content: some violence, but nothing else that stood out. Clean.

To purchase, click: here .

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review and Blog Tour: Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection

Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer:

The Christmas Ornament: When the father of his now-deceased best friend hints that he should consider his daughter as a potential wife, Lord James Crandall isn’t sure he can get past the fact that he used to tease her mercilessly when she was just a girl. But once he finds out how brilliant her mind is, he’s not sure he can get past the fact that she’s a woman. Add in the fact that her charms have garnered the attentions of other gentlemen, Lord Crandall is in for quite the roller coaster Christmas.
Make a Joyful Noise: Widower Marquis Peter Chard is grateful for his two children, but not so grateful when his mother gives him the chore of recruiting people for the parish Christmas choir competition. When recently widowed and pregnant Rosie Wheatherby turns up with the voice of an angel and the looks to match, Lord Chard isn’t about to let her get away from the choir . . . or his family.
An Object of Charity: Stuck on land while his ship is being repaired, Captain Michael Lynch is approached by his late first mate’s niece and nephew. Learning they are destitute, he decides to take them home with him for the holidays, returning for the first time in 22 years ago. As he spends more time with them and unburdens his heart to the young woman, she replaces his hurt with love in time for a very special Christmas.
The Three Kings: After her brother is shot by the French in Spain, Lady Sarah Comstock is forced to travel across the war-torn countryside with a Spanish Colonel. As Christmas quickly approaches, Sarah learns about the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ child and finds a gift of her own that she can share—her heart.

Filled with romance and a touch of humor, these stories are sure to find a place in your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time for love.

Meet the Author:
Image of Carla Kelly
Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light and My Loving Vigil Keeping.

My Review: ****--5 Stars.
I love Christmas stories, especially those that have a little romance thrown in. I really enjoyed these historical short stories. The first one, The Christmas Ornament, was my favorite. I loved the way Lord Crandall would stick his foot in his mouth. He was so tongue-tied and the things he came up with to say to these pretty girl were hilarious. I could just picture him cringing and beating himself up over it, yet he'd do it again in the next moment.

The second story was so sweet. It seemed that the Marquis was going to extraordinary lengths to keep the choir together, yet he had ulterior reasons--reasons that involved a certain woman. I loved the ending and the way he treated his children, Rosie, and her baby.

I enjoyed how different the stories were and the messages that were given. They were great little snippets and I didn't feel cheated that they weren't full-length.

Content: Clean.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blog Tour and Book REVIEW--Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Just Ella Tour
Just Ella Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen Book Summary: A Proper Romance Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined. I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me. I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.
Praise for Just Ella "I fell in love with this book. Treat yourself to something wonderful. You can't go wrong with Just Ella!" ~Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer "By far one of the best romance novels I've ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story--plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well." ~Jana Miller "Annette Larsen writes a love story that takes time, is complicated, and yet still sweeps you up in the romance (without the cheese, thank you). It's compelling and emotional and sweet and you will love every page." ~Kimi  
Book Blast/Blog Tour Special
Grab your copy of Just Ella for just $4.99!
  annetteAuthor Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.  
    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/5/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway
My Review: *****--5 Stars!!
It's true. I was one of those girls who wished to be a princess. In fact, I was obsessed with Princess Diana and love any "royal" news. I had a friend growing up who called me "Princess." could I not absolutely fall in love with this story?! What I found to be ironic is that Ariella is a princess but doesn't really want to be one. How could she not? Well...after this glimpse, however fictional it may be, into the life of royalty, I could definitely understand her reasoning. That didn't make me love the story any less or cause me to wish I'd never wished to be a princess.

Princess Ariella, or Princess Ari, or just Ella, seemed to have the perfect life...yet she yearns for more. I loved to see how normal she really was--climbing trees, sneaking out, befriending unlikely friends. She was so genuine, truly compassionate, and most definitely humble. I loved the example she was to her sisters and how brave she was. Some of the situations that she found herself in were quite frightening, yet she handled things well. Amazingly well. 

I loved the relationship that Ella had with her father, the king, until the turn of events caused him to punish her. My heart broke for her and while I could understand where he was coming from, my respect for him decreased, although he did try and earn it back later.

Gavin. Who wouldn't love a friend like Gavin? He found himself risking everything to do what he knew to be morally right. I loved the way he stuck his foot in his mouth at the first meeting and how hard he tried to be the proper citizen, while fulfilling royal commands.

As with any true princess story, there is a villain and this one is not whom you might expect a villain to be.

I thought everything about this book was fabulous--from the adventure to the romance to the relationships.

Content: some mild violence; kissing. CLEAN!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Light in Dark Places $50 Book Blast!!

light in darkA Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.
Praise for A Light in Dark Places I just finished reading "A Light in Dark Places" By Jennifer Graves and Emily Gray Clawson. I was impressed with how well written the book was. The descriptions are such that I felt I was part of the story. I was grateful that the message was one of hope and peace in tragedy. The book does tell the tale of Susan Powell, her boys and their demise but doesn't dwell on it. It was nice to see inside the life experiences of someone so close to them and to see things from Jennifer's perspective rather than what you see on the media. I highly recommend this book. It doesn't disappoint! – T. Hyde I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond I had followed the story of Susan Powell very closely so I wasn't sure if the book was going to tell me something I didn't already know...but it sure did. Jennifer was very brave in writing this book and all she had done in support for Susan. I highly recommend the book it sheds a light on the whole situation that helps make things more clear. ~ Carolyn This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O. To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene   add to goodreads   JenandEmAuthorphoto1Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
Black diamond (cards) Black diamond (cards) Black diamond (cards)
Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blog Tour $25 Giveaway and My Review of Twisted by KayCee R

twisted Twisted Cayden Rivers wants nothing more than to be normal, but we don’t always get what we want. For years he has been hiding a secret, afraid of being labeled a “freak”. Every day he goes to school, plays football, spends time with his girlfriend, and helps carry his drunken adopted father to bed. Nobody knows the truth about his unnatural speed and strength, including his life-long friend Camilla. Suddenly, four strangers enter Cayden’s life, and not only do they know his secret, they also have one of their own. With their help, Cayden discovers there is more to his power, something much more dangerous. Something other people will kill to possess. Camilla wishes her parents were around more. She gets lonely sleeping in her big empty house night after night. Sure, she has all the money she could ever need, but the only person who is there for her is Cayden. He has his own family and a girlfriend who takes up most of his time, so Camilla knows he won’t be there for her forever, and recently he’s been acting really strange. Will Cayden be able to keep his secret and his friendship with Camilla, or will his new found power destroy everything, including his own life? Switching between Cayden and Camilla's point of view, Twisted will leave you aching for more.  
  kayceeKayCee R KayCee is a 24 year old self-published author from Cleveland, Ohio. KayCee has always loved reading. After a re-occurring dream she decided to try writing about it. She wrote the first installment of Twisted when she was 20. “I kept having this dream about these twins, and then I just decided to run with it. I wrote the beginning, the end, and then filled in the middle.” KayCee finished the book in 8 months and then decided to share the book online. After seeing people get interested in the book and the characters, she decided to write another book and turn Twisted into a series. KayCee has finished four novels in the Twisted series and is currently working on the fifth book.
Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway   KayCee R – Twisted Excerpts - Choose your favorite I pushed the guy’s weight off me so I could get up to see if Dom caught the ball, but I stopped short when I looked up at who had tackled me. It was… me? I must have hit my head. Hard. I heard cheers roaring, but they felt like they were coming from far away. That I was watching from a distance, even though I was there on the field.

My Review: ***1/2 Stars.
There are some books that I have a really hard time rating, and this is one of them. Sometimes it's hard to determine if things bother me because of my own beliefs or if it's something else. I'm going to get the ugly out of the way. First of all, I am not a fan of swearing--I can overlook a few of the milder words, but this one had a lot of swearing--no f-bombs, but about everything else and a lot of it. Secondly, I love a good, clean romance, and while this one stayed clean, I felt like some boundaries were brushed upon. I'm also not a fan of a boy staying over at a girl's house (for multiple nights--in the same bed), even if nothing happens, especially when both are teens. And last of all, I'm not a big fan of teens getting drunk and wasted and all that, especially considering how the father is pretty much a drunk.

Okay...that said, I really loved the premise of this book. I thought it was fun and entertaining and it was a technically clean story, which is a plus for me!!

I thought that Cayden was really amazing. He seemed so mature for a high school student, learning lessons in responsibility and self-control and what it means to be a true friend. I loved how he tried to use, but not misuse his abilities and how he tried so hard to protect those who were important to him. He was a little clueless in the romantic department though--not really following his heart.

Cam was such a strong girl. My heart broke a little for her, thinking about her spending Christmas and her birthday alone. I can't imagine why her parents made no time for her. She was pretty impressive and brave.

If you're someone who can overlook the content I mentioned above, then check this one out, because it really was a fun book about a great guy with some cool friends and some awesome powers.

Blog Tour Book Spotlight--The Glister Journals: Bronze by Allison Anderson

Bronze The Glister Journals: Bronze Allison Anderson knows she's a little different, but it hadn't bothered her too much-until now. Moving away from everything she's ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it's her first year of high school too, making it even more intimidating. She's more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn't seem to trust or like her at all. Can she trust them? While the peaceful situation of her new home only amplifies the sound of her own doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem, and her world is turned upside-down by these new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!   About The Glister Journals series: The Glister Journals series is told from the perspective of a normal but not average teenage girl. It is not obvious, but Allison has a mild pervasive developmental disorder (autism spectrum). She thinks and experiences things a little differently from most of the other kids. In the past it has caused her to be alienated at best and bullied at worst. After the family moves, she becomes involved with a group of teens that open up new worlds to her. The four book series follows her through high school but is equally about her friends who have their own problems, fears, and aspects of their lives they’d rather keep quiet. There is action—mostly in the form of equestrian and extreme sports—and though there are only hints of it in Bronze, there is a love story which will play a more prominent part as the series progresses. The main story is about assumptions, acceptance, love, and friendship, though there are other themes running throughout the series.
  Praise for Bronze Allison narrates a gentle coming-of-age story that has a strong equine subplot…undeveloped plot points hint at future complications and will likely keep readers looking for the next entry. — Cindy Welch Booklist Online Written with intelligent humor, this tale follows an awkward girl as she enters a new school...This is a strong first book, both for Shepherd and for the series. The friendships the characters build are realistic and lifelike, strong, and durable, just like bronze. — Beth VanHouten ForeWord Reviews The story is well-written and sweetly told. Allison’s anxieties and insecurities are true-to-life, and so affectionately and clearly portrayed as to make anyone who’s ever been through adolescence wince in sympathy. Dave, Robin and Chris are complicated, intelligent, three-dimensional characters whom the reader enjoys getting to know, and all of the minor characters are vividly drawn and believably real. The author is adept at setting a scene, both external and internal, bringing Allison’s mind and world to vivid life. — Catherine Langrehr IndieReader "Bronze: The Glister Journals" is a well-written novel of teenagers and their world. It is also a story of horses and teenage horsemanship. The main character Allison is a totally delightful fourteen year old girl whose innocence and awkwardness is refreshing. — Alice DiNizo Readers' Favorite  
  BBAuthor B.B. Shepherd A graduate of Cal Poly with graduate work at Chapman and U C Santa Cruz, B. B. Shepherd has lived most of her life in California and loves the diverse beauty of its many landscapes. Music, horses, literature, and art have been her passions as long as she can remember. She enjoys road trips, almost all horse sports and extreme sports (as a spectator), and is addicted to research. As a writer, Shepherd enjoys exploring emotions and motivations: why do people do what they do? She also likes trying to find the funny side of things. She admits to being a hopeless romantic and often gets in trouble for her sense of humor. Bronze is her debut novel, the first in a series of four called The Glister Journals. She currently works full time as a music professional and educator, and lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her youngest daughter and a very silly cat.
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/31/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Excerpt 6: Snow Day

I stood gawking for quite some time until something hard, cold, and stinging hit the back of my head. Sure of my attacker, I turned around, ready to protest Dave’s behavior, but was brought up short.
Chris stood several yards away, coolly regarding me, expressionless as ever, and forming another snowball between gloved hands. My jaw dropped and my eyes popped wide as I realized he’d not only circled around and hidden in the trees waiting for me to come out into the open, but was now preparing, very deliberately, to pelt me with another projectile. I began backing away as quickly as the snow and cumbersome boots allowed.
“Get her, Henry,” he said, calmly.
What?! The next thing I knew, I’d been tackled by a very robust eight year old, almost knocked off my feet, and was now held quite firmly, my arms pinned against my sides. I expected Chris to lob the snowball from where he stood, but instead he began walking very slowly toward me, holding the large, obviously firmly packed orb in his right hand.
“No . . .” I said, unbelieving and looking for a way out of the situation. I looked to Dave who had moved out of the way as soon as I’d gotten hit, probably thinking he was next. He now watched, looking a little confused but apparently amused enough to allow his brothers to continue.
“Henry!” I said firmly, managing to extricate my arms. “Let . . . me . . . go!” I gasped, now ineffectively working to remove his arms from around my waist.
He just started laughing. Now I was laughing too—very nervously.
Chris continued his slow, deliberate progress toward me, torturing me with anticipation until he stood directly in front of me. He wasn’t looking me straight in the eyes but took brief glances there.
“What? You don’t really think I’d hit you square in the face with this do you?”
I laughed nervously again. “I . . . don’t . . . um . . .”
He scowled slightly as if hurt that I’d consider such a thing. “I’d never do that,” he said, and I felt a moment of relief. Perhaps he was content with having alarmed me badly.
Nope. In the next instant he had slipped behind me, grabbed the back of my collar and stuffed as much of the well-packed snowball down it as he could before Henry’s grip loosened and they both let me go. I squealed loudly, both from the cold of the attack and the absolute fright he’d given me in actually doing it. Henry was rolling on the ground laughing. I quickly unzipped my jacket and tried to remove as much of the offending ice from my back as I could.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: The Legend of Sleep Hollow by Washington Irving

Length: 33 pages
My Rating: ****--4 Stars

 Amazon Description: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving was first published in 1820 while the author was living abroad in England. The action takes place in the eponymous glen in New York State, known for its spooky goings on, and follows the rivalry of Ichabod Crane and “Brom Bones” Van Brunt for the hand of wealthy Katrina Van Tassel. When gawky Ichabod botches his chances of asking Katrina to marry him during her family’s autumn party, his dejected ride home becomes of the stuff of legend – and nightmares. Irving’s classic is an early but exceptional example of specifically American popular fiction.
My Review:
Such a fun, descriptive story, especially for this time of the year (Halloween/autumn). I've seen the Disney cartoon version of this story and thought I would try reading the book. I was pleasantly surprised--Irving does such a great job with words--I could visualize everything very well. Loved the descriptions!! I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would read it aloud to my younger two kids. This was a little harder to do than I imagined. It was very wordy and the language was hard for them to understand. I still enjoyed reading it again, but I had to basically interpret almost everything for them so they knew what was going on. I guess my point is, even though it almost seems like a children's book (maybe because of the Disney cartoon), it's probably more for an older reader--teen on up--because of the prose.

You can purchase it on amazon by clicking here .

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blog Tour and Book Review: Choir of Angels by Michele Mirabile

Publication: October 2013
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Length: 32 pages
My Rating: *****--5 Stars 

Book Description:  
He was so ready for this moment he could barely breathe. If he won, he knew he’d be the best Joseph the pageant had ever seen.
Riley loves Christmas, and this year, he wants something special: the chance to play Joseph in his school pageant. Sam, the neighborhood bully and a talented singer, wants the part too and is crushed when Riley lands the role. Riley doesn’t care—until he learns the secret Sam has been keeping from everyone. Now Riley has a choice to make, one that will change his view on Christmas forever.
Told from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, this charming tale reminds us that being like Christ is the most important celebration of Christmas.

My Review:
What a sweet story for people of all ages!! Riley is a boy with physical problems, but he doesn't let them stop him from trying out for his school's Christmas pageant--for the part of Joseph. The important lessons he learns in this short story is something we can all take note of. I loved the way that Riley came to the realization that what he did was wrong and how he just knew deep down what he had to do to fix it. It was an especially moment when he realized how he felt about all of it. The story was very touching and I think children, especially, would really enjoy it, relate to it, and hopefully come away with ideas of how they could help and serve those around them, especially those whom they don't feel deserve it.

About the Author:
Michele Mirabile enjoys a stunning view of Mount Timpanogos from her home in Utah County, where she lives with her devoted husband and their two spoiled cats. Besides juggling words and delving into her imagination, she loves meeting new people and visiting exotic ports. Her marriage and her beautiful daughter are the greatest accomplishments of her life.
A veteran of the United States Army, Michele has authored travel articles, short stories, and three books that include Your Mother Wears Combat Boots: Humorous, Harrowing, and Heartwarming Stories of Military Women; Dark Side of the Moon; and Choir of Angels. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ARC Giveaway--Defy by Sara B. Larson

What is an ARC? It stands for Advanced Reading Copy and there is a giveaway hosted by the author, Sara B. Larson, where one lucky winner can win a signed copy of this novel, which will be released in January 2014. Go here to enter. The author is a good friend of my friend, so that right there makes me want to read it. And it really looks good!!

Here's a little description of the book:

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

So put it on your list to be read and hop on over to Sara B. Larson's blog for a chance to win!!

**The contest ends in 4 days, so be sure to enter sooner, rather than later**

Book Review: The Halloween Tree and The October Country by Ray Bradbury

  "A fast-moving, eerie...tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin's. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings."--Booklist

Welcome to a land Ray Bradbury calls "the Undiscovered Country" of his imagination--that vast territory of ideas, concepts, notions and conceits where the stories you now hold were born. America's premier living author of short fiction, Bradbury has spent many lifetimes in this remarkable place--strolling through empty, shadow-washed fields at midnight; exploring long-forgotten rooms gathering dust behind doors bolted years ago to keep strangers locked out.. and secrets locked in. The nights are longer in this country. The cold hours of darkness move like autumn mists deeper and deeper toward winter. But the moonlight reveals great magic here--and a breathtaking vista. The October Country is many places: a picturesque Mexican village where death is a tourist attraction; a city beneath the city where drowned lovers are silently reunited; a carnival midway where a tiny man's most cherished fantasy can be fulfilled night after night. The October Country's inhabitants live, dream, work, die--and sometimes live again--discovering, often too late, the high price of citizenship. Here a glass jar can hold memories and nightmares; a woman's newborn child can plot murder; and a man's skeleton can war against him. Here there is no escaping the dark stranger who lives upstairs...or the reaper who wields the world. Each of these stories is a wonder, imagined by an acclaimed tale-teller writing from a place shadows. But there is astonishing beauty in these shadows, born from a prose that enchants and enthralls. Ray Bradbury's The October Country is a land of metaphors that can chill like a long-after-midnight they lift the reader high above a sleeping Earth on the strange wings of Uncle Einar.

My Reviews: I thought these were both fun books that really got me into the spirit of Halloween. The Halloween Tree helped the reader understand how the holiday originated and what different countries believe. It seemed mysterious and almost spooky at times, yet it wasn't too creepy. The author is very descriptive, yet he uses it to his advantage and it makes the story better, instead of becoming too wordy.

I thought October Country was great!! I only read 4 of the short stories, but they all seemed to have endings that left things up to my own imagination. Once again, very descriptive and entertaining, yet not too wordy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

$100 Book Blast!! Angus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings by Angela J. Townsend

angus macbainAngus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings Angus MacBain is unaware that his ancestral roots hail from an ancient sect of Scottish kings. When his dying grandfather gives him a dragon pendant, thirteen-year-old Angus learns of a legacy that will take him across an ocean to the island of Iona and thrust him into a heritage he did not know he had. He soon discovers that his mother, whom he had believed dead, is really a seal fairy, in hiding from a dangerous enemy. To save her, Angus must undergo a perilous journey of destiny and power to battle an evil Dacian knight and those who serve him. With only his family shield and the advice of a wizened vampire hunter to protect him, Angus must navigate dangerous terrain and dark enemies, in a land where the past and the present mingle, and sleeping kings wake.
  angela tAuthor Angela Townsend Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time writing career. Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing. She resides in Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant. Angela's novel, “Amarok,” was published in November 2012 by Spencer Hill Press. It has been on Amazon’s best seller list in three categories, and was reviewed by the School Library Journal. “Amarok” is available in print and audio editions through as well as at large chain stores, including Walmart.
BookBlast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway